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The Best Food & Drink Events in September

Taste of the Port, KAABOO Rock'n Chef Competition, and the History of California Wines


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September 22: Taste of the Port

Taste of the Port

When: Sept. 22, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, 1000 N. Harbor Dr.

The Port—the governing body of San Diego’s waterfront destinations—is making a good effort and greening up the area, and this event is a showcase of that. Four of the top port chefs—Katy Smith (Puesto), Michael Poompan (Marriott Coronado) and Kyle Kovar (Tom Ham’s)—will compete in the “Top Green Chef” competition with sustainable cooking techniques, local ingredients, fresh fish, etc. And then there will be tastings and drinks from most other waterfront restuarants, like Bali Hai, Coasterra, Flour & Barley, Loews, Slow Food Urban San Diego, etc. I will be one of the judges for the competition, but more importantly so will Claudia Sandoval, winner of MasterChef Season 6.

COST: $40-$50
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KAABOO Rock'n Chef Competition

WHEN: Sept. 17, 12-5 p.m.
WHERE: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar

So this Kaaboo is kind of a big thing. On the night that Aerosmith, The Chainsmokers and Lenny Kravitz perform the three-day music-art-food-comedy festival, San Diego company Chef’s Roll is putting on their second “Rock’n Chef Competition” in the food tent. They’ve been holding regional competitions to narrow it down to six finalists: Phillip Esteban (Cork n Craft), Michael Poompan (Marriott Coronado), Steve Brown (Cosecha), Anthony Sinsay (JSix), Dushyant Singh (Hotel Camby in Phoenix) and Herve Glin (Parker Hotel in L.A.). I’ll be emceeing the event along with Brian Malarkey (Herb & Wood, Searsucker), and judges include Claudia Sandoval, chef Giselle Wellman (Pacific Coastal), Josh Kopelman (Dining Out editor), chef James Montejano (Seaside Market) and last year’s winner, Jason McLeod (Ironside). The winner gets an entry into the World Food Championships in November for a chance to win $100,000. There will be bites aplenty.

COST: Entry to festival ($119).
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“History of California Wines”

WHEN: Sept. 24, 12-2 p.m.
WHERE: Island Prime, 880 Harbor Island Dr., Shelter Island

The Cohn Restaurant Group has some serious wine minds in their stable, including wine director Maurice DiMarino. DiMarino started in San Diego before cutting his teeth in San Francisco’s wine scene at restaurants like Lou’s Pier 47, Foreign Cinema, Alma and Chez Spencer. For this event, he’ll dive through the history of California wine and provide tastings of ten different choice bottles. The price includes hors d’oeuvres like caprese salad, figs stuffed with Roaring 40s blue cheese, slow-cooked ribeye puff pastry and guyere toast.

COST: $40
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